Popiah is one of the many names for Chinese fresh spring rolls. The term originates from the Chaoshan dialect, which translates to ‘thin wafer’. In Mandarin, the dish is known as ‘bao bing’ or ‘run bing’. Besides being a popular Fujian and Teochew dish, popiah is also served in many Southeast Asian countries, such as Indonesia, Taiwan, and Philippine.
The dish is made up of 2 main components: the wrapper and the fillings. The wrapper is a thin crepe that is made from wheat flour. The fillings vary in different regions. Some common ingredients include bean sprouts, lettuce, cucumber slices, sweet sauce, and shallots.
Tips for Making Popiah
While this recipe uses premade spring roll skins, you can also make your spring roll skins at home. This can be time-consuming and challenging, as specific tools and skills are required to make the thin skins without tearing them.
The sweet sauce in this recipe can be replaced with hoisin sauce, soy sauce, chilli sauce, and any other sauces of your choice. Some recipes use peanut powder and chopped peanuts instead of ground peanuts. Feel free to modify this recipe based on your likings.
Besides pork, some other meat options include prawns, beef, and crabs. For extra textures and flavours, you can also add seaweed or fried pork lards in the popiah fillings.
Popiah Recipe: How to Make Homemade PopiahDifficulty: Moderate
Prepare popiah by cooking the fillings and cutting some garnishing ingredients into strips. Then, wrap all ingredients in the spring roll skins and roll them up. Cut the spring rolls into smaller pieces before serving.
1kg turnip skinned and cut into strips
25 spring roll skins
300g fresh prawns, shelled (reserved shells for the stock)
½ tsp salt to marinate prawns
4 cups of water
3 ½ tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp fresh garlic, minced
2 ½ tbsp brown bean paste, ground
300g pork meat, diced
½ tsp salt to marinate meat
2 firm bean curds, fried and cut into strips
½ tsp salt to taste
1 lettuce, wash and drained
300g bean sprouts, tailed and blanched
1 cucumber, finely shred
2 eggs, lightly beaten to make an omelette
1/8 tsp salt, seasoning for eggs
1/8 tsp pepper, seasoning for eggs
150g peanut, roasted and ground
150g shallots, sliced and fried crisp
Ground and fried garlic
- In a pot, bring 4 cups of water to a boil. Then, put in the prawn shells and let the water boil for another 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, marinate the prawns with some salt.
- Once the prawn stock is ready, drain the stock and set it aside.
- In a pan, fry the bean curds until golden brown and cut them into strips. Set the fried bean curds aside.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a wok and put in the minced garlic and brown bean paste. Fry the mixture until fragrant.
- Slowly stir in the prawn stock and bring it to a boil.
- Next, add in turnip strips and diced meat. Cover the wok and let the ingredients simmer on low heat for at least 1.5 hours.
- When the turnip stripes turn soft, put in the prawns, fried bean curd strips, and some salt. Allow the ingredients to cook for another 10 minutes.
- Place the popiah fillings in a bowl and set it aside.
- In a bowl, lightly beat 2 eggs. Add salt and pepper for seasoning.
- Cook the omelette on a pan and slice it thinly.
- On a spring roll skin, spread some sweet sauce and ground fried garlic evenly.
- Place a lettuce piece on the edge of the spring roll skin. Then, top the lettuce with some bean sprouts, cucumber shreds, omelette strips, peanuts, shallots, and 2 tablespoons of fillings.
- Roll up the skin and fold the sides of the spring roll inwards.
- Cut the popiah into smaller pieces and serve.
- Repeat steps 3 to 6 by using the remaining spring roll skins.
Ways to Enjoy Popiah
While it is common to cut the spring rolls into smaller pieces and pick them up with chopsticks, you can also enjoy this dish by holding it in your hands and bite like burritos.
You can also deep fry the spring rolls to make crispy fried popiah. In some regions, popiah is served with chilli sauce and mayonnaise dip.
There are many regional variants for this dish. Feel free to use a creative combination of ingredients and sauces.
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